Building the Base to Broaden the Peak
Gymnastics movements, we seem to either love or hate these movements. However, I think they are one of the fundamentals in any strength and conditioning program. Just like anything in CrossFit you have to gradually build into it. We have done this by adding in technique work for shorter periods of time fairly frequently in our programming. With these we started with some basic progressions that we could gradually improve our mobility and strength. With these we eventually began adding slightly harder progressions (instead of adding more weight) to test the body not only with flexibility but also by attempting to improve an individuals strength by teaching them to recruit more motor neurons. This is the same process that occurs when you begin to lift increasingly heavier weights. Your body begins to be able to recruit more motor neurons so more muscle fibers are activated.
Now we are in a position where we need to start adding more volume (or total repetitions) to our weekly routine in order to be able to continue progression and improving. We can do this in a variety of different ways. Being able to perform harder variations, such as a chest to bar pullup instead of a normal pullup by the end of the phase, would show improvement throughout the course of a training cycle. Both of these are showing improvement. Both have their added benefits. However, most of the time before significant progress occurs you have to do a large amount of repetitions before you can perform them in a good enough position and enough repetitions to move on to the next variation. Often times the common mistakes I see when we add gymnastics into the programming is that people work so hard to perform one repetition correctly that they promptly forget all of the things that got them in the first place. Which was working on the fundamentals of the movement such as the technique work, flexibility, and repetitions that added volume for their strength to improve and achieve their goal.
Sadly with gymnastics movements none of them come very easy. They take time and dedication in order to perfect. My advice to you is this: Write down your goals! Hold yourself accountable to them by writing them down. Also find a way to work on them everyday! This helps dramatically. Even taking 5 minutes to work on your handstands or your pullups can see significant improvement over time. Even if you are sore from the day previously find a way to work on some of those small things. Ask your coaches for drills you can do so they may not be as boring. But sometimes it is a little boring putting in the work to success! PR’s don’t come everyday. They are earned through countless efforts in the gym improving daily. Keep fighting and struggling to see a better you.
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